Creeping in as a health hazard, COVID-19 quickly wreaked havoc on socio-economic infrastructures and undermined decades of development gains made by both rich and poor countries. But the cruelest blow fell on our children’s education, turning it into a nightmare.

Our first step included surveying children’s families to understand their needs and get a handle on the potential obstacles to remote schooling. We also assessed our teachers’ needs. We sourced laptops and tablets for our teachers to prepare lessons. That was the easy part! Few of our children’s homes have a TV, and even fewer have a computer with WIFI. Some can’t even afford a cell phone.

The solution wasn’t ideal, but it had the maximum reach to the students. Our teachers developed weekly study lessons and assignments, packing them with food rations to be delivered to the children’s homes, or to be collected by their parents from Kids Alive sites. Those with cell phones got their study resources via social media along with instructional videos.

“A recent study showed that in some of our communities, less than 10% of students graduate from high school before age 20,” says Vic Trautwein, Country Director, Kids Alive Dominican Republic. He adds, “In sharp contrast to this, Kids Alive students have a graduation rate of over 80%, despite the fact that our kids come from the most challenging circumstances.”

As COVID-19 continues to loom large going into 2021, our teachers have redoubled their resolve to counter its impact on education.

We are grateful to you, our supporters, for continuing to walk alongside us, even as our teachers walk alongside our children.

Thank you!

An interview with Maria Fernandez Miller, 4th and 5th-grade teacher, Santo Domingo North School

Maria has worked with Kids Alive for seven years.

What do you like about your teaching job?

I like to teach academics and also to share the word of God. I also like to work with and help children.

How has it been challenging to teach during the pandemic?

There have been hundreds of little things that have been difficult due to the pandemic. We have never experienced a situation like this. Working remotely has been hard. The frequent power outages and poor internet connections have been particularly challenging.

In relation to your work, what has gone well during the pandemic?

A good thing has been that some parents have become more engaged and have taken more responsibility for their children’s education.

How has it been challenging to teach during the pandemic?

We had little experience with effectively teaching remotely using technical means. Communication with children and families has been challenging. We started by simply writing step by step instructions and explanations of the study materials. Later we also started sending explanatory videos via phones.

What has been difficult during this time?

Teaching from a distance is hard as families are in very different situations. Sometimes a child communicates via her dad’s cell phone, but then the dad takes it to work. Others have no cell phone or access to the internet. Some children have parents who can’t read. Many live in difficult conditions and also lack food. And then, there is the pandemic.